In good company

Skipping around the internet this morning I came across this fantastic site. While I don’t for one second presume to be in the league of these writers, I felt in good company this morning, as I look at the pile of paper on my desk and ready myself for the last of the proofreading.

I suddenly feel the urge to look for vintage typewriters on eBay :)

From the top: Anais Nin, Simone de Beauvoir, Carson McCullers, Jack Kerouac, Richard Ford. Unfortunately there were no photographer credits for these photos, but I couldn’t resist sharing them :)

The shape of my day

I’m proofreading the book this week, looking for typos and embarrassing word choices (there have been a few). There are parts I’ve really enjoyed reading back, and others that I’m not too keen on. I know it’s too late to do any major rewrites and I’m guessing this is just part of the process: the book will never really be finished. It’s a snapshot of my thoughts and ideas during the six months I wrote it. There’s truthfulness in it; there are parts that make me cringe a little, when I worry I may have said too much. I’m happy with all the Polaroids, so that’s something to hold on to when I get nervous about the looming publication date. I really wish we could put a big sticker on the front cover of every copy that says: To be read while wrapped in your favourite blanket and sipping hot chocolate. With a journal by your side.

It’s that sort of book.

This is how I write: Danielle LaPorte

Danielle LaPorte

Ever since I finished writing my book I’ve been a bit obsessed with how other writers write. Writing a book — writing any lengthy piece — is such a solo mission it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has to smudge herself with burning sage and pray to the gods of Polaroid before she begins (I might be joking… Maybe). So today’s post is the first in a very occasional series of interviews with writers to see how they get in the zone and get their words on paper. I’m also asking them to share photos of their writing space with us, so we can be nosy inspired.

First up is the indomitable Danielle LaPorte. Danielle is the author of Style Statement and The Fire Starter Sessions (hitting book shelves in April 2012) and today sees the launch of her next e-program-of-awesome, Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. Co-authored with book proposal whizz, Linda Silvertsen, it’s exactly what you need to craft a book proposal that’s gonna get you that book deal. And here’s what makes it extra useful: they’ve included lots of real-life proposals from published authors (including me!) Those alone are worth investing in. Seriously. After our Fire Starter call back in 2009 Danielle was generous enough to send me a copy of the proposal she’d written for Style Statement. Having a real-life proposal in my hands helped me craft my own when the time came. I’m forever grateful to her :)

SC: What do you use for writing a) notes/ideas/brainstorming and b) your book?

DLP: Everything begins in hand notes in my Moleskine notebooks. I prefer the ones withe the craft covers. 6×9. I can outline a whole book in two pages. If I can get down the four core ideas, then it all begins to flow.

Then, and I love this part: pattern recognition. I move on to using one inch square light yellow sticky notes (you see I’m very specific about these things. Squares help me think mo’ better than rectangles. Can’t explain.) I write down different ideas, concepts, words on dozens and dozens of sticky notes. And then I lay them on a large piece of art board and I begin to cluster them. I start to see which are the Big Themes, and I place the supporting ideas under the obvious umbrella concepts. And THAT becomes the outline of the book or program. Works every time.

Then I do my first Table of Contents on my trusty MacBookPro (or my Mac Air if I’m traveling.) And I don’t look back.

How do you begin?

Usually in the bath tub. Really my best ideas come with heat and bath oil.

Describe your writing process (edit as you go? Shitty first draft? Daily word count goal?)

I have no typical, writerly “measurables”. If I had to write X pages per day, or X words a week, I’d faint from lack of creative oxygen — couldn’t bear it.

I write what feels good, when it feels good. And of course, sometimes what feels good is slamming a deadline, so I don’t drift from the goal: which is to create something awesome and impeccable and ship it. But I do prioritize mostly on emotional/creative pull.

What do you do when the words aren’t coming?

Nap. Organize stuff. Buy too much on iTunes. I also visit my Alexander McQueen and Donna Karan coffee table books. And Rilke.

Please describe any writing rituals you have (I’m assuming you have some as all writers I know have some, including me)

Well, I pride myself on being able to write anywhere, any time (being too sensitive about your surroundings can be such a creative cop out). Like, with kids dueling with light sabres by my desk, or in airport terminals, I manage to just tune it out and keep putting words on the screen. But ideally, I have a morning walk, a lush green smoothie. My desk is tidy. I light a honey beeswax candle, some hand-rolled incense, I crank some chanting tunes, and I play my wireless key board like a hot damn piano.

What’s your favourite part of the writing process/madness?

Crafting the one sentence that says it all.

* * * * *

Thank you for bringing us into your space today, Danielle — it’s the one inch square sticky notes that are staying with me!

Full disclosure: I’m an affiliate for Your Big Beautiful Book Plan because I absolutely believe in it. So if you click on the link and decide to invest in the Plan, i’ll get a few dollars in return (which I’ll be reinvesting in more books. Yay for books!)

Instant Love: the cover

I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that I have two books coming out next year. I mean, I did the work. I sat in this chair I am sitting in now and wrote for MONTHS. I shot the images. I pulled out every thread of myself for my book and collaborated with two women I admire so much for the other. And yet, as we get closer to 2012 and the final birthing of the books, I still can’t quite believe it. I’m almost embarrased to have two books coming out — it’s seems so greedy. But that’s just the way it happened. A little bit of serendipity spirinkled on a ton of hard work.

In this age of online magic having a paper book in your hands could be considered rather quaint, but after centuries of the written word, i don’t think they’ll be dying out any time soon. If anything, my Kindle makes me appreciate my paper books even more.  I love watching my nephew playing on his mummy’s iPad but his favourite is still a paper book about tractors.

I got a nice surprise this morning when I noticed the covers of the books had been added to their Amazon listings. It’s a pleasure to be able to finally show you the cover of Instant Love. It’s a book for anyone who loves Polaroids and photography and we hope it will inspire you to go exploring with your cameras!

Instant Love back cover

Some stats:
The book will be hardcover
Publication date: May 16th, 2012
Price: $18.95 (£11.99) but you can pre-order it on right now for $10.76 (£9.23)